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Morning Art

It’s Blue Note album cover week.


1 thelarmis   ~  Jan 30, 2012 1:08 pm

Blue Note is the greatest label for jazz and aesthetically pleasing album covers.

Hank Mobley is my favorite Blue Note artist and Workout is not only my favorite BN album cover, but also my overall favorite album on the label! I've written about Hank and this record on the blog a couple of times, so i'll leave the historical stuff out of it and let you enjoy the supercool cover!

i have this album art framed in my hallway. it resides next to a Ravi Shankar LP. across the wall, is Beatles' Sgt. Pepper & a Claude Bolling/Yo-yo Ma record. I have a smaller facsimile of Mobley's Workout album cover on the wall at my drum studio. Overall, I've got 12 Blue Note album covers framed in my home! : )

another winning Mobley album cover is "No Room For Squares" and there's a rare compilation from Japan (2009) that's really classy with an old photo of Hank playing his horn, wearing a bow-tie, on the cover. i keep that one out on display above one of my cd cases.

2 thelarmis   ~  Jan 30, 2012 1:50 pm

Blue is my favorite color, Blue Note is my favorite record label and Tina Brooks is another underrated tenor player who's career was too short and unnoticed.

The album cover for True Blue is a complete classic and very much in the style of Francis wolff (photographer) and Reid Miles (designer) in the early 1960's.

I have a copy of this cover hanging at my drum studio, from an old Blue Note calendar and a smaller version, from the "bookshelf" edition of the essential Blue Note Album Cover Art book, hanging on the side of my fridge. (There are 2 volumes of the album cover art books and 2 other essential volumes of Blue Note Photography, not to mention a small book of Blue Note postcards, of which I like "Philly" Joe Jones and Eric Dolphy the best.)

Tina (born Harold Floyd Brooks), was a twin and from North Carolina. His diminutive sized earned him his less than flattering sobriquet early on in school. His family migrated to the Bronx (!!!) when he was a pre-teen. Tina played with some heavy hitters and compared favorably to Hank Mobley in tone, rhythm, execution & composition. His career was rather obscure and his modest output was almost exclusively on Blue Note.

His debut recording for the label was as a sideman on the marathon sessions that made up Jimmy Smith's classic albums "The Sermon" & "House Party". This was 1957/1958 and an all-star cast was assembled. A few weeks later, the large lineup was scaled down a bit for a live performance at Small's Paradise. This gig was issued on Blue Note as Cool Blues.

After that, Tina recorded his first of 4 Blue Note titles as a leader. Next up, was working for Kenny Burrell, whom he met on the Jimmy Smith sessions. Tina's immortalized on Burrell's "Blue Lights Vol. 1 & 2" and Live "At The Five Spot".

A week before before "True Blue" came out in June 1960, Tina participated on Freddie Hubbard's debut Blue Note album as a leader, "Open Sesame". The beyond brilliant young trumpeter from Indianapolis returned the favor and played on Tina's masterpiece album, True Blue.

Tina was the understudy for Jackie McLean in the show "The Connection" and got to sub for Jackie a couple of times. This led to a session that was on McLean's first Blue Note album - "Jackie's Bag" - and 2 sessions with Freddie Redd, the pianist who composed the music for "The Connection". McLean was on both of these albums, as well.

Two other solo albums - "Back To The Tracks" and "The Waiting Game" - were released on Blue Note and for the most part, that was that. He's represented well - in performance and as a composer - on these dozen records (bakers dozen, actually!), but his overall presence and modest recording output, is criminally low. His only other recording, was as a sideman for Howard McGhee and that music was in relation to "The Connection". By March 1961, he was off the scene and when he died in 1974, True Blue was his only solo album that had actually been released by the label.

3 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jan 30, 2012 7:31 pm

[1]thelarmis, you know I am with you on the Hank Mobley. And that IS the best album cover ever, just perfect.

Tina Brooks died that young? Need to read more about him. Know those Jimmy Smith albums very well.

4 Normando   ~  Jan 30, 2012 8:16 pm

(1)-(3) - I really appreciate you two sharing your knowledge. It's one of my favorite things on this site. My record collection thanks you as well!

5 thelarmis   ~  Jan 30, 2012 11:18 pm

[3] yeah, he was 41-42 years old. if you wanna know more about Tina Brooks, all you need to get is True Blue - it's such a great album!!!

[4] thanks! keep checking out this segment each day this week! : )

6 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jan 31, 2012 2:56 am

[4] Nice! My record collection thanks thelarmis too but my wallet is telling me to stop reading and buying.

7 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jan 31, 2012 2:59 am

[2] Oh, that Freddie Hubbard album "Open Sesame" is superb. Freddie was only 22(!!) and already a master of his instrument. I think his impulse! album "The Artistry Of.." is my favorite. Think I listend to `Caravan` off that daily for about two months when I got it.

Freddie also had an "interesting" personality..but that's another topic!

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